Campbell Decides to Quit Football, Focus on Baseball : CSUN: After a year of playing both sports for the Matadors, freshman from Poly High will stick with the one he enjoys the most.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jonathan Campbell has been pulled, for as long as he can remember, in two directions.

In the fall he played football; in the spring he played baseball.

It was a routine he followed at Poly High and again during his freshman year at Cal State Northridge.

But never did he consider himself a Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders in training.

Baseball always was his first love, and Campbell recently decided to follow his heart. He has informed Matador Coach Bill Kernen that he will play baseball full time next season.

Campbell's decision comes on the heels of a baseball campaign in which he played in only 11 games, going hitless in three at-bats.

However, he said he likes his prospects in baseball, and he flatly states that he does not care to play football again.

"I lost my love for football," Campbell said. "It just wasn't there anymore."

Campbell, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, was a reserve tailback for Northridge last season, rushing for 33 yards in 11 carries and catching one pass for nine yards.

In 1990, he was selected City Section 3-A Division player of the year after rushing for 2,091 yards. He led Poly to an 11-3 record and a City championship.

But even then, he said, football was a distant second in terms of enjoyment.

"With baseball, I was always excited to go to practice. I was like a kid again," Campbell said. "Football practice was something I always dreaded."

Campbell said Bob Burt, Northridge's football coach, reluctantly accepted the decision after being assured it was well thought out. Burt is on vacation and was unavailable for comment.

Campbell's scholarship, which was split between the sports, will be picked up entirely by the baseball team. Kernen believes it is a wise investment.

"He's a talented guy," Kernen said. "He's a good outfielder and things can get pretty exciting when he gets on base. He just needs to play a lot of baseball."

Campbell, 19, batted .357 with 14 stolen bases as a senior at Poly, for which he lettered three times in football and twice in baseball.

He was a three-time All-East Valley League selection in football and a three-time team most valuable player.

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